'What the cow knows'
By John R. Erickson
'Several weeks ago, in March, I was feeding cattle on my ranch in the Texas Panhandle. March is an ugly month for us. Last year's grass has been grazed off, the cattle are shedding their winter hair, and the wind is giving us its usual pre-spring thrashing -- one day from the south, the next day from the north.
Green grass and wildflowers won't soften the prairie landscape for another month, and the only relief from the stark monotony of winter comes from the appearance of baby calves in the pasture. They are always a welcome sight, fresh and clean and bright, full of energy and optimism.
On this particular day, I drove my pickup to the feed ground, an open patch of grass near the base of Hodges Mesa. The cow herd came at a trot, surrounded my pickup and began staring at me with eyes that said, "We haven't eaten in weeks!"
They were lying, of course. I had fed them yesterday and the day before and the day before, but cows have learned that their cause is never served by saying, "No, thanks, we've had enough."'